Reproductive status and testorene among females in cooperative mole-rat societies

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dc.contributor.author Lutermann, Heike
dc.contributor.author Young, Andrew J.
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.date.accessioned 2013-09-19T06:27:49Z
dc.date.available 2013-09-19T06:27:49Z
dc.date.issued 2013-06
dc.description.abstract Sexual selection acts on traits that increase reproductive success. Variation in reproductive success is often higher among males than females. Consequently, sexual selection has been studied extensively in males while its possible role in females has only recently attracted considerable attention. In some cooperatively breeding species females compete intensely for reproductive opportunities and may thereby have evolved 'male-like' traits such as increased intra-sexual aggression and exaggerated secondary sexual traits. The expression of the latter tends to be testosterone-dependent in male vertebrates but whether this is also the case among females remains poorly understood. Here, we compare two cooperatively breeding mole-rat species (Natal, Cryptomys hottentotus natalensis, and Damaraland mole-rats, Fukomys damarensis) in which a single female monopolises reproduction through behavioural and physiological suppression, respectively, to evaluate the effect of female intra-sexual competition. Consistent with the hypothesis that intra-sexual competition has shaped patterns of testosterone (T) secretion among females in these species, we show that (i) female T levels in both species are significantly higher among breeding (BFs) (who may face the highest degree of intra-sexual competition) compared to non-breeding females (NBFs), (ii) that T levels in both species are significantly higher when access to unrelated males can be assumed to be greatest (i.e., wet season), and (iii) that the average female T levels are a full order of magnitude higher in the absence of a physiological mechanism of reproductive suppression. Together, our results suggest a role for intra-sexual competition in shaping patterns of T secretion among females of the social mole-rats and raise the possibility of a modulatory role for the mode of reproductive suppression on competition-related traits in females. en_US
dc.description.librarian hb2013 en_US
dc.description.sponsorship HL and NCB are indebted to the University of Pretoria and the NRF for funding while AJY acknowledges a research grant from Magdalene College, Cambridge, ASAB and NERC. en_US
dc.description.uri http;//www.elsevier.com/locate/ygcen en_US
dc.identifier.citation Lutermann, H, Young, AJ & Bennett, NC 2013, 'Reproductive status and testorene among females in cooperative mole-rat societies', General and Comparative Endocrinology, vol. 187, no. 6, pp. 60-65. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 0016-6480 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1095-6840 (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1016/j.ygcen.2013.03.026
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/31748
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Elsevier en_US
dc.rights © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Notice : this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in General and Cooperative Criminology. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in General and Comparative Endocrinology, vol.187, no. 6, 2013. doi.: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2013.03.026 en_US
dc.subject Female-female competition en_US
dc.subject Testosterone en_US
dc.subject Cryptomys en_US
dc.subject Fukomys en_US
dc.subject Bathyergidae en_US
dc.subject Cooperative breeding en_US
dc.subject Reproductive suppression en_US
dc.title Reproductive status and testorene among females in cooperative mole-rat societies en_US
dc.type Postprint Article en_US


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